Second courses to taste

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Rich in meat and animal fats, Emilia-Romagna cuisine spares no expense when it comes to flavors and quantities. Abundance is one of its hallmarks and defines its character and characteristics, offering unforgettable banquets.

From appetizers to desserts, each city boasts typical dishes, the result of recipes often interpreted differently depending on the area and the historical tradition to which they refer.

As far as second courses are concerned, in Emilia-Romagna the connection with the territory and with the whole farming world in general is very strong.

In the flat areas there is a wide diffusion of dishes based on pork and beef, very often strictly grilled. The grill in this region is king. Mutton, sausage, bacon and all the meats of the local gastronomy are always accompanied by a side dish of vegetables, sauteed chicory, baked potatoes or, if you are in Romagna, a basket of flatbread. In the Apennine and mountainous areas there are many dishes based on game.

Moving along the coast, however, the kitchen offers grilled and fried blue fish (sardines, sardines, cuttlefish, anchovies and fillets of San Pietro fish) and poor and tasty broths, as well as a whole gastronomic world linked to the valleys and marshy areas, who see eel as their protagonist par excellence.

Without forgetting the Cotechino and Zampone IGP, born as poor dishes on the tables of the Modena area, omnipresent in the menus of the Christmas holidays, as an accompaniment to legume soups and / or minestrone, in particular those with lentils and beans stewed or served with mashed potatoes. potatoes and polenta.

The stracotto alla piacentina (Al stracòtt)

Stracotto is one of the symbolic dishes of Piacenza cuisine, and for this reason it is included in the Register of traditional Italian food products.

The recipe includes a preparation of beef (the classic one indicates the use of horse meat), cooked for a long time (about 5 / 6h) in a sauce based on tomato sauce, herbs and wine. The dish is served in slices, accompanied with polenta or mashed potatoes.

The snails (Il lümägh) De.Co  

Stewed snails are a typical dish of the Bobbio area, mainly cooked on Christmas Eve.

Serve hot, there are those who accompany them with polenta on the coldest days and those who prefer them stewed with a sprinkling of parsley, some croutons and maybe some lard pesto.


Casagai (or cazagai) are a classic dish of the Reggio countryside only prepared in winter. Like any old recipe, there are different versions: there are those who prepare them with pork rind, some with lard, some with sausage.

The recipe calls for cooking the pork rinds with chopped vegetables (onion, parsley, carrot and garlic), beans and mixing everything with the polenta. Everything is served immediately hot or, cut into slices, fried or on the plate the next day.

Valigia and Valigini from Reggio Emilia

A classic of Emilian cuisine, in particular that of Reggio Emilia, is the Reggio Emilia suitcase, a kind of roast veal stuffed with meats and cheeses.

There is also a smaller variant of the latter, the suitcases, which take the form of small rolls prepared with pork tenderloin and cheese and which are included in the list of traditional agri-food products of the Emilia-Romagna region.

The suitcases from Reggio, as well as the suitcase, are often served in white, but they can also be cooked and accompanied by a tomato sauce.

Rosa di Parma

The Parma rose is a classic of Parmesan cuisine, especially during the Christmas holidays or on the occasion of special events.

At the base of the recipe there are three key ingredients of the Emilian tradition: Parma Ham, Parmigiano Reggiano and Lambrusco, all wrapped inside a beef tenderloin which when cut takes on the appearance similar to that of a rose.

Bologna Cotoletta

Also known as Petroniana cutlet, this dish is a real calorie bomb that contains some of the symbolic ingredients of Bolognese cuisine.

The recipe, deposited by the Italian Academy of Cuisine at the Chamber of Commerce of the city, provides for different preparations that follow one another.

It starts with a veal cutlet breaded in egg and cheese which, after being fried, is covered with a slice of raw ham, flakes of Parmesan cheese and passed in a pan over low heat.

There are several variants. There are those who serve it, for example, enriched with a drop of tomato sauce; and who, on the other hand, prefers it in a pan with meat sauce or baked in the oven.

Comacchiese eel soup

The eel is one of the undisputed protagonists of Comacchio cuisine. This area, within the boundaries of the Delta Park, is in fact very famous for this fish that comes from the Sargasso Sea to the calm waters of the Po to spend part of its life, and finally return to the East.

For centuries the entire economic and social context of Comacchio has revolved around fishing and processing of eels. It is therefore normal that a strong culinary tradition has spread in this area, made up of many traditional recipes.

Among these stands out the comacchiese eel broth, in dialect a bèch d'easen (donkey's beak), a dish that is still cooked today as it was in the past, keeping the ingredients and methods of preparation unaltered.

Fish broth from Romagna

Born on the fishing trips, the fish broth from Romagna is a dish of ancient tradition, very tasty, which originates from a contingent need: to avoid throwing the catch that is difficult to sell due to low quality or size.

Having become part of Italian gastronomy, there are different versions depending on the ingredients and the fish used. Fundamental is the sauce at the base, to be eaten strictly accompanied with a slice of bread.

But know that the choice does not end here and depending on the province you can also enjoy:

In Piacenza and its province:
The Brachettone (Ar Bragtòn) De.Co
Polenta and horse (Puleinta and piccula ad cavall)
Roast cup (Cupa Arost)
Burattin (Büratëin)

In Reggio Emilia and its province:
Rabbit alla reggiana

Last update 20/11/2021

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